On the Tip of their Guns

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By Shane Jeffery

Last month one of the most highly anticipated films of the year was released, but it’s great reign barely had a few hours to impress before it was over shadowed by a tragedy even more shocking than the death of Heath Ledger which preceded the release of THE DARK KNIGHT in 2008.

Just as movie goers were constantly reminded of the short time left Ledger would have once the credits rolled, now viewers have a chilling window inside the brutal massacre that took place as the DARK KNIGHT RISES midnight premiere played in the background.

The impact is devastating. World wide media have become inflamed with constant updates about killer James Holmes’ incarceration, bundled with the victims’ condition and family grief. New talks began in Internet forums for people from all places to express their reactions, and given the details much of it has amounted to a universal expression of sorrow.

This was not something that should have happened.

But beyond the sorrow, the issue of gun control was always going to come up. As Australians, it is naturally instinctive of us to take comfort in that we have much stricter gun laws here. Disasters of this kind are a rare occurrence. The idea of someone walking into the local cinema and breaking out a murder rampage on the fly, seems like something out of horror film, perhaps even the film we’re currently watching.

But is it really that impossible? Now that James Holmes’ horrifying actions have spread into the conciousness’ of all people far and wide, it seems unlikely someone out there isn’t taking it in as something of appeal. The motives behind senseless murder run deeper than mental impairment, or spontaneous mood wings. They are often built from a range of variations, integrating both the individual person and their environment. And just as many people enjoy watching people killed on the big screen, it is a sad reality that many others enjoy fantasising about killing people in real life.

It is still early enough that no actual explanation has been given as to why Holmes killed those people. Yet everyone everywhere have been talking about his actions; sharing the same reservations about going to see THE DARK KNIGHT RISES just in case something bad might happen.

With a university on one corner, and a gun store behind the local cinema, it doesn’t seem too unlikely that a depressed, jobless loner is living somewhere in a suburb near you.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is now showing.

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